The Movement

Christopher Hayes

Yesterday was an absolutely inspiring day. I spent much of today attending ancillary, non-DNC sponsored events with the many progressive delegates and activists that have come to Boston. At a Take Back America event with Howard Dean, and Robert Reich, the crowd was so massive that hundreds of people were turned away at the door, only to be pleasantly surprised when the speakers came outside to address them from a hotel balcony. I talked with progressives who attended their state party caucuses and called every voter in their town to see if they wanted universal health care. I ate lunch with a 19-year old Kucinich delegate who just “showed up” at her local precinct caucus and got herself elected as a Kucinich delegate from the state. Here is what I can safely conclude after two days in Boston: there is a real, progressive, political movement in this country that is organizing itself and gathering steam. It is savvy and tactical, its message is basic, economic, and has, if packaged correctly broad appeal. And it’s not made up of latte-sipping “coastal elites” as the David Brooks-inspired blue state mythology would have us believe. It is comprised of working people in the heartland, in places like Oklahoma and Minnesota If you think this is just hype, or some Dean vestige, think again. Consider this: this year 8 states put a plank in their Democratic party platform endorsing a cabinet-level Department of Peace. That happened because peace activists didn’t just take to the streets, they took to the state caucus. It happened because a relatively small group of committed people organized, and worked, and made phone calls, and persuaded other delegates and party-members of their position. This is participatory democracy at its best. And then to top it all off, Barack Obama gave one of the most stirring political speeches I have ever seen. Obama has a truly wonderful gift: an ability to express truly progressive ideas (eg. I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, we are bound to each other by mutual obligations) in language that is accessible, inviting and and, to use a hoary cliché, grounded in common values. The crowd went nuts last night during Obama’s speech and a good friend of mine called me right afterward to say, “Watching him last night, it was the first time I thought we are going to win.”

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Christopher Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. He is an editor at large at the Nation and a former senior editor of In These Times.
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